Hillsborough County enacts hiring freeze after Tallahassee moves property tax cut
TAMPA -- Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill has enacted a hiring freeze for government departments, effective May 2.
That's the same day the Legislature gave the greenlight to a 2018 voter referendum that would increase the homestead exemption by another $25,000, which would effectively cut local property taxes. The hit to Hillsborough's coffers would be roughly $30 million a year.
In a memo obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, Merrill told department directors the freeze was necessary "to allow greater flexibility and options" for the 2018 and 2019 budgets. County commissioners met Tuesday to plan for the upcoming budget, including this new uncertainty from Tallahassee.
The freeze applies to all positions, excluding season employees, like lifeguards, and instances when a job offer was made and accepted before the May 2 memo.
"The freeze applies to those positions being filled by internal promotion or by external new hire, and regardless of funding source," Merrill wrote. "Human resources has been directed not to process the filling of any positions without my written authorization."